Welcome to The Shelf, Nerdist’s weekly look at Blu-ray and home entertainment. This week we’ve got the goods on Clone Wars‘ complete 4th season with an exclusive look at some concept art, a giveaway of presidential proportions, and an inside look at how our one of our favorite sci-fi films of the last 10 years got a 3D conversion for home theaters.
If you haven’t jumped on The Clone Wars train yet, now is a really good time to do so, since Season 4 is out on Blu-ray today and it has an episode that takes place on a train. So you can jump on it. The figurative train, that is. Did we mention Simon Pegg is on the train? As Dengar, no less. But seriously, if you didn’t give Star Wars: The Clone Wars a chance (or if you did in the first two seasons and bailed), Season 4 is the perfect hopping-on spot. The season saw the return of Admiral Ackbar, the bounty hunters we’ve come to know and love (plus a few new ones), and, of course, the most talked about aspect of Season 4, the return of Darth Maul as voiced by Sam Witwer.
The Blu-ray set includes all 22 episodes of Season 4, cast and crew commentaries on five episodes, and the Jedi Temple Archives, which contain test animations, deleted scenes and concept art. Speaking of concept art, we’ve got an exclusive look at the concept art for the design of Darth Maul, plus some bonus art right here:
What else could possibly make this Blu-ray set any better? How about the fact that we’re giving one away through Nerdist News? Just go to our contest page and enter your name and email (this will sign you up for the official Nerdist News daily email) and then get bonus entries at the Nerdist News Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages, but do it by October 29th, 2012, which is when this contest falls to the dark side.
As election day approaches, we can’t help noticing that neither the two major party candidates nor any of the third-party options have taken a stance on vampires and their role in society (seriously, we’d at least expect Roseanne to have an opinion on that topic). Nineteenth-century chief executives had no such qualms, according to Timur Bekmambetov’s Tim Burton-produced, alternate-history slice of action-horror, in which Honest Abe has the moral clarity to unequivocally oppose the blood-sucking agenda and become his own literal campaign hatchet-man.
Want to win both the movie on Blu-ray and a graphic novel featuring Bekmambetov’s “director’s cut” of the story? Head on over to Nerdist News’ contest, and scare up some bonus entries at the Nerdist News Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages by October 29th, 2012.
When I, Robot came out in 2004, it was refreshing to get an entertaining movie with humor and action as well as a movie with some credible science and futurist theories. Often when dealing with futurism in film, the tendency is to go entirely dark and broody, but I, Robot managed to keep the future believable and pleasant. Dealing with a myriad of themes from techno-paranoia to what defines life, the film delivers lots to think about it in a light, fluffy package, not to mention the amazing cinematography and the performance of one Alan Tudyk as Sonny.
Now why is this release of I, Robot worthy of inclusion when the film has been on Blu-ray for several years already? Today, it sees its release in 3D, and it is the first film released in theaters in 2D that has gotten a 3D post-conversion specifically for the home market. This is significant because if it does well, there could be a whole library of new 3D titles for consumers with the equipment, but who haven’t seen nearly enough 3D product on the market. While developing I, Robot for 3D, a film admittedly shot as if it was meant for it to begin with, the Fox technology division worked with JVC to develop a one-person workstation that can severely cut down on the cost and manpower required to convert a 2D film to 3D. The process uses proprietary algorithms and hardware to measure the depth of the scene and prejudge what elements will need to be given depth in the left eye composite, meaning that when it creates a second image to create the 3D, it notes the changes that have to happen automatically to give the illusion of depth.
The results of the process on I, Robot are spectacular, and this is coming from someone who hasn’t always been a fan of 3D in the past. Admittedly, the process being used is much quicker and not designed for the type of full theatrical re-releases we’ve seen so far, but if this catches on, we can expect an avalanche of 3D movies we never thought we’d see. Though nothing has been announced for its next project yet, discussion about the possibilities in the halls of Fox are Die Hard, Predator (the jungle may be prohibitive), The Day After Tomorrow, and Speed. We even went so far as to interrupt a presentation to suggest the Simpsons movie. If you’re curious what other movies we think could benefit from this process check out our list of the top 5 movies ripe for a 3D conversion.
Also Out This Week:
Blade Runner 30th Anniversary – Ridley Scott’s philosophy is like the opposite of George Lucas'; rather than continuing to make changes to the one and only one available version of a movie, he wants you to own every single step in the process. So if the five-disc DVD suitcase for the 25th anniversary seemed too bulky, this Blu-ray set is for you, as it has a whopping five versions of the movie (theatrical, director’s cut, extended international theatrical cut, final cut, and workprint version) on only three discs. It’s the last Blade Runner set you’ll ever need to own, until Scott makes the sequel and a new one comes out.
Seeking A Friend for the End of the World – What do you do when the last ditch effort to stop an asteroid from hitting Earth fails? If you’re Steve Carell’s character, you watch your wife leave you almost immediately after the announcement is made, watch your friends devolve into consequence-free id junkies, and then go on a cross country trip with a complete stranger. Seeking a Friend is a great comedy about the thing that happens when people have nothing to live for… they find someone to live for. We got a chance to talk to Patton Oswalt and Rob Corddry about their roles in the film and what’s on their bucket list, just in case the end of times should surprise us all.